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Exchanging Ideas by Sharing Journals: Interactive Response in the Classroom
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Six 50-minute sessions|
Pairs of students respond to literature alternately in shared journals, responding to group read-alouds, independent reading, literature circles, or any instance that pairs of students are exposed to the same texts. After introducing the concept of literature response journals, the teacher models a basic exchange. Students brainstorm possible generic prompts for their journals, then practice an exchange with their partners. As students begin using the journals, mini-lessons are presented on responding to prompts, creating dialogue, adding drawings, and asking and answering questions. Students can choose their own partners, or partners can be teacher-assigned so that less proficient and more proficient writers can be paired.
Sample Literature Response Prompts: Use these sample prompts to facilitate discussion of any work of literature.
Interactive journals are valuable because they motivate students to develop their voices as "active speaker[s] and writer[s]" (303), and this active participation in making meaning of the texts that they encounter leads to deeper comprehension. Furthermore, because of the combination of drawing, writing, and reading, interactive journals are a valuable tool for ELL instruction. Because they allow students to "observe . . . classmates' oral and written interactions around literacy" interactive journals can be used to encourage and support ELL students as they "take more risks with [their] writing topics, content, and skills" (301).
Ruiz, Nadeen T., Eleanor Vargas, and Angélica Beltrán. "Becoming a Reader and Writer in a Bilingual Special Education Classroom." Language Arts 79.4 (March 2002): 297-309.